Friday, July 13, 2012

Gambia Gov asked to tell how much money it made on sand mining


See also...
  • GAMCOTRAP turndown Yolocamba’s request for new project 
  • Dr. Gumbo Trial: Magistrate threaten to close case



PPP Leader, O.J accuses the Jammeh administration of corruption
Gambia Gov asked to tell how much money it made on sand mining

The Government of the Gambia should tell Gambians how much money it generates from its sand mining at Sanyang village, Kombo North District of the West Coast Region, says Mr. Omar Jallow (O.J), a former minister of agriculture in the first republic.

“Sand mining at Sanyang village is clouded in secrecy, it is not included in the budget and Gambians have the right to know how much containers are processed on a daily basis and the money generated yearly,” Mr. Jallow told The Voice newspaper  on July 11, 2012.  


People have the right to know which company mining the sand and where exactly it is exported to (in Europe), added Mr. Jallow, a veteran politician and leader of the former ruling Peoples Progressive Party (PPP).

He said the sand mining process has been going on for so long. It is unfortunate that the APRC-government is still mute about the issue which he said is of grave concern to Gambians, especially residents of Sanyang village.

Developments

OJ recently came under attack orally from parliamentarians after he compared former president Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara’s 30 years rule to that of current president Yahya Jammeh’s 17 years rule. 

He admitted that physical development is good, but believes that mental development is more important.
“People prefer to live in freedom with poverty rather than died in slavery,” he argued. “In an environment where citizens are not free to exercise their constitutional rights, developments are meaningless.”

Corruption

According to him, when the armed forces provisional ruling council (AFPRC) overthrew the PPP regime in 1994, they complain of corruption and overstay in power. 

They set up a commission of inquiry on the PPP regime, one that they claimed its report will be made available to Gambians, but still now nobody have seen that report.

He also argued that the junta turned civilian government had accused the PPP regime of living luxurious lifestyle, driving in Mercedes Benz, however, he said the irony is that today President Yahya Jammeh is driving in a Hummer which is costing multimillion dollars.

“That means the corruption allegation against the PPP regime are untrue and are baseless,” he said.
He also alleged: “The APRC government is more corrupt than the PPP and we have seen so many officials of the regime taken to court on corruption charges.” 

It is so unfortunate that during the regime of the APRC Gambians lost millions of taxes payers’ money, he said, referring to an almost forgotten issue, that is, the millions of dollars that the Junta’s former spokesperson Ebou Jallow ran away with.

Anti-graft Commission

On the newly enacted Anti-Corruption Commission 2012, O.J. said the executive arm of government should be the first to be summoned by the commission. This is because leaders are supposed to lead.

“It is so unfortunate and I cannot understands why President Yahya Jammeh told Gambians that he bought all the things in State House all by himself apart from the building, and that of the Gambia Radio and Television Service (GRTS) he bought all cameras,” O.J. stressed.

How can the president be richer than the country, he asked. Gambians have the right to question his source of wealth.


Dr. Gumbo Trial: Magistrate threaten to close case 

Principal Magistrate Taiwo Alagbe Ade, presiding, on July 12, 2012 threatened to close the prosecution’s case in the “false information trial” of Dr. Ali Gumbo Touray, a former lecturer at the University of the Gambia (UTG). 

Magistrate Ade’s stance followed police prosecutor, Superintendent Sainey Joof’s application for another adjournment on the basis that his witness is out of the court’s jurisdiction. 

However, on Thursday, the Banjul Magistrates Court ordered prosecutor Joof to provide his next witness on the next adjourned date (July 18) or risk having his case closed to allow the defence open their case.
Dr. Touray, also a former director of international affairs at the UTG is accused of giving false information to a public official.

The allegation emanated from a letter he wrote to the Office of the Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh, alleging that the vice chancellor of the UTG, Prof Muhammadou Kah was squandering the scarce resources of the university and had engaged in nepotism by employing his relatives and friends.

The case has been dragging on for some time now and had suffered many setbacks which the defence counsel Badou S.M. Conteh blames on the prosecution.  

Barrister Conteh decried for the prolonged trial of his client, saying his liberty is at stake and he need to know his fate as soon as possible.  

“There is an end to any litigation; this case had been dragging for so long. This matter should come to an end and justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done,” Conteh said. “My client is innocent until proven guilty by the court.” 

He also argued that this prolonged dragging of the case has even drained the accused financially. He urged to the prosecution to tell the court who the next witness would be among the parliamentarians. 

He said his client has a family to feed, he is without a job, and cannot travel. 

After listening to both parties, the Magistrate adjourned the case till July 18, 2012 for prosecution to call their last witness and failure to do so, the prosecution will be compelled by the court to close its case.


Human Rights defenders, Mrs. Amie Bojang Sissoho (L) and Dr. Isatou Touray (R)

GAMCOTRAP turndown Yolocamba’s request for new project

 Mr. Omar Dibba, the Youth Coordinator of Gamcotrap yesterday disclosed to the lower court in Banjul his organisation’s refusal to sign a new project agreement with Span-base Yolocamba Solidaridad.

Dibba, a fifth witness in the trial of two top executives of Gamcotrap, said the project was rejected simply because the second phase  project documents presented to them by the Spanish organisation’s Director Balestros Sanchez was written in Spanish.

The executive director Dr. Isatou Touray and programme Manager Mrs. Amie Bojang-Sissoho of Gamcotrap, a local charitable agency fighting against harmful traditional practices, are standing on allegation of stealing (30K Euros) since 2010.

Continuing his testimony before presiding Magistrate Alagbe Taiwo Ade at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court, Mr. Dibba said: "After our meeting with the region of Madrid we were assured that the proposal we submitted for the second phase is approved and details will be communicated later in December."

Balestros Sanchez brought documents for the new project but Gamcotrap declined to sign the agreement because it was written in Spanish. They were asked to translate the documents, he said.

He said the Yolocamba-Gamcotrap Project started in 2009 but the issue of Micro Credit never arises.  He said the project was implemented in 2009 base on the original proposal sent to Yolocamba of which an interim report was made available to Yolocamba.
Guided by the defence counsel, Amie Bensouda, Mr. Dibba said "We submitted end of project report in November 2009."

He further told the Court that Yolocamba had requested Gamcotrap to go to Spain to do a fundraising for the second phase of the project. A journey he made with Dr. Isatou Touray to Spain where they had a meeting with the donors in the region of Madrid.

He said during the fundraising trip, they were accompanied by the Director of Yolocamba, Balestros Sanchez and were later joined by Imam Baba Leigh, a Gambian Muslim leader.

However, he maintains that the issue of Micro Credit was not discussed during their trip to the Spanish region of Madrid.
Still in his testimony, Mr. Dibba said after they return to Banjul a report was prepared and sent to Yolocamba and all other partners they met while in Spain, including those in the region of Madrid.

At this point, defence counsel Bensouda applied to tender the report in evidence as defence exhibit.

Prosecutor Superintendent Sainey Joof objected to the application, arguing that he knew not who the author of the report was.

The defence counsel indicated that the witness has testified that they prepared the report.

The application of the defence was upheld by the trial Magistrate and the objection overruled.

The proposal for the second phase project was also admitted in evidence as defence exhibit.

He revealed that he was called to report at the Holgam fishing company at Kanifing by the National Intelligence Agency to give a statement pertaining to an email send to Gamcotrap by Yolocamba.

However, he said his statement was neither highlighted in the investigative report nor was it brought to court.

The sitting continues on 25th July, 2012.



 All Stories Courtesy of The Voice Newspaper, Serrekunda, The Gambia

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